There is now a country where most political party leaders are openly gay or bi.

Scotland is a unique country.

Hruuuuuummmmmmmmmmm. Hruuuuuummmmmmmmmm. Photo by Diliff/Wikimedia Commons.


It's the only country where roughly 1 in 8 people have red hair. It's the only country where you can travel 1.7 miles by commercial airliner. And it's the only country where people enjoy eating this:

Haggis is actually good, and I will fight you if you disagree. Photo by Jonathunder/Wikimedia Commons.

As if that weren't enough, Scotland nabbed yet another "only" this week when Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale casually revealed that she has a female partner...

Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

...which appears to make Scotland "the only country in the world where most of its political party leaders are openly lesbian, gay or bisexual," according to a report in The Guardian.

Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

Dugdale (center in the above photo, in blue) and Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson (just left of her), as well as Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie (far left), and UKIP Scotland leader David Coburn have all come out as gay or bisexual.

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, it's historic! So, you know. That's pretty cool.

And it has real-world implications. Scotland's is Europe's most LGBT-friendly country, and that's probably not a coincidence, considering some of its most powerful lawmakers are LGB (though not T).

Scotland's first same-sex marriage ceremony in 2014. Photo by Mike Runnacles/Getty Images.

Various U.S. states continue to pass laws that target LGBT folks, like North Carolina's anti-trans "bathroom law," which forces trans men and women to use restrooms that correspond to their sex as assigned at birth, or Mississippi's "religious freedom" law that allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.

That might not be the case if we had more LGBT legislators running the show.

It also helps reverse a several-millennia-long trend in Europe and the U.S. for entrusting power pretty much exclusively to straight white men.

(With a few notable exceptions).

It's not just Scotland that's entrusting leadership to those outside the white-hetero-male-ocracy:

Angela Merkel, the German prime minister who presides over the most powerful economy in Europe, is a woman.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the former prime minister of Iceland, became the first openly LGBT head of government in 2009.

Photo by Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images.

And then there's this guy, of course.

Barack ... Obomo? Obano? Ogummy? Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

In Scotland, the face of power is increasingly not-straight. In Germany, it's female. In the United States, it's non-white. Forget the last millennium or so — that's a huge change from even just 40 years ago.

A generation of children in all these countries will grow up knowing that it's normal for their high-powered government officials to be LGBT or for the head of government to be a black man or woman.

Slowly but surely, the notion that you have to look a certain way, love a certain way, or be a certain gender to hold power in the West is becoming obsolete.

But is it actually, though? Or is that just some hopey changey pablum?

Well, yes and no.

There are currently 20 women in the U.S. Senate. That ties a historic high! But also, it's not remotely close to the percentage of women in the general population. Only one openly gay person has ever been elected to the Senate, and only six sit in the House of Representatives.

Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is currently the only openly gay U.S. senator — and the only one ever. Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images.

But some countries do way better on this! The Rwandan and Bolivian parliaments contain higher percentages of women than men, and in Europe, the Nordic countries are generally killing it on gender equality in government. The U.K. Parliament has over 30 out LGBT members (of 650 total).

Will Scotland's achievement magically transform governments around the world so historically marginalized groups like women and LGBT folks are better represented?

No. But it's a good first step.

It's like (Notorious) Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, when asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court:

Here's to continuing to climb that ladder.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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